John Glenn & Wally Schirra Mercury 7 Test Gloves at Auction Oct. 28

. October 23, 2007

Original Gloves used to test the space suits of the Mercury 7 Astronauts will be sold at Skinner Auction Gallery October 28, 2007 sale in Bolton MA, used by John Glenn and Wally Schirra.

Skinner, one of the nation’s leading auction houses, will hold an auction of Science & Technology on Sunday, October 28, 2007 at 10 a.m. at its Bolton MA gallery. The auction will feature numerous categories of Science, Technology, Toys, Dolls, Collectibles, Cameras, and Automobiles.

One of the rarest NASA collectibles is Space Suits and everything associated with them. Skinner will be offering 2 Mercury 7 Astronaut’s Test Gloves, Type M, manufactured by B.F. Goodrich Co. for the Bureau of Aeroanautics and the National Aeronatics and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.), with internal cloth Project Mercury label, and outer pen markings. These gloves were given to a McDonnell Douglas employee who worked on the project. Project Mercury, which was the first human spaceflight program in the United States. Named after the Roman God, Mercury, who embodied speed, and the innermost planet of the solar system, which moves faster than any other, it ran from 1959 – 1963 and was officially conducted by the then newly-created N.A.S.A. The Mercury Program had seven prime astronauts, all former military test pilots, who became known as the Mercury Seven. Their selection was announced on 9 April 1959 and included Malcolm Scott Carpenter, Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, John Herschel Glenn, Jr., Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom, Walter Marty Schirra, Alan Bartlett Shepard, and Donald K. “Deke” Slayton. These gloves were used for testing of Mercury Astronauts’ spacesuits, by both John Glenn and Wally Schirra, as their hands were about the same size. Their names are written on the inside. The presale estimate is $12,000-15,000 per glove.

Also extremely desirable are items that have flown in space. Included in the auction will be a Project Gemini Space Flight Capsule Floatation Ball, which is a 1.25” diameter metal, with card tag ink-stamped Project Gemini, and referred to on the tag as the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”, was removed from the GT-3 reaction control system on 26 March 1965. Project Gemini was the second U.S. human spaceflight program, whose objective was developing the techniques for advanced space travel that would eventually facilitate a moon landing. Originally seen as an extension of the Mercury Program, it fell historically between Projects Mercury and Apollo. There were ten manned flights between 1965 and 1966. The accompanying tag documents the ball’s use on the flight of March 3 1965, which included astronauts Commander Virgil “Gus” Grissom and Co-Pilot John Young, and lasted for three orbits. The Presale Estimate is between $1,000 and $1,500.

Also included is a N.A.S.A. Final Apollo 11 Flight Plan with 21 Astronauts’ Signatures, AS-506 / CSM-107 / LM-5, 1 July 1969, 8 1/4 x 11 in. ring-bound notebook with perspex cover prepared by the Flight Planning Branch Flight Crew Support Division of the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, the cover inscribed to “Arlene” and signed in person by the astronauts Buzz Aldren, Neil Armstrong, and Mike Collins of Apollo 11, plus Astronauts Charles Conrad (A-12), Alan Shepard (A-14), Wally Schirra (A-7), Jim Lovell (backup Commander on A-11 plus A-13), Dave Scott (A-9), Al Worden (A-15), Tom Stafford (A-10), Gene Cernan (A-10), Dick Gordon (A-12), Walt Cunningham (A-7), Don Eisele (A-7), Joe Engle (a-14), Rusty Schweickart (A-9), plus Skylab Astronauts Joe Kerwin, Paul Weitz and Jerry Karr, and two indistinct signatures.

The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. It was the fifth human spaceflight of the Apollo program, and the third human voyage to the moon. Launched on July 16. 1969, it was manned by Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr. Four days later, on 20th July 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon, while Collins orbited above. The inscription is to “Arlene”, a N.A.S.A. hostess who entertained astronauts and their families at parties in her home near Houston in the 1960s. The original document signed by 23 atsonauts is expected to sell between $10,000 and $20,000.

The sale is rounded out with over 400 lots of toys, dolls, and collectibles, including aeronautical items such as a Tootsie Toy Speedy Aeroplane Set No. 6100, complete with planes and Airmen, near mint condition in original box with a Presale Estimate of $3000-$4000; a 1950s Marx American Airlines AstroJet Airport Set in mint condition in original box by Louis Marx & Co. Inc., 200 with the “Service Mark of American Airlines” on the box cover; a Steiff Teddy Bear from 1905 n near mint condition, a set of Steiff Dinosaurs and many other Toys, Dolls and Bears.

Skinner is one of the few auction houses in the world, and the only major auction house in the U.S., to offer sales focused on Science and Technology. And, this sale won’t disappoint; more than a thousands lots of scientific material, including phonographs, technological inventions, surveying instruments, medical instruments, early cameras, computer-related objects, mechanical music, automata (mechanical dolls), and vintage automobiles and automobilia will be offered. The eclectic sale starts at 10 a.m.

Vintage Automobiles
The sale kicks off with 50 lots of fine vintage automobiles and automobilia. Six vintage cars highlight the sale, from the collection of Marion and the late Warren Higgins of Shrewsbury, MA: a 1930 Packard Deluxe Eight Phaeton (lot no. 3, est. $80/120,000); a 1937 Ford Sedan Delivery (lot no. 1, est. $25/35,000); a 1931 Ford Deluxe Roadster (lot no. 2, est. $20/25,000); a 1959 Cadillac Convertible Series 62 Deville (lot no. 7, est. $24/35,000); a 1934 Packard Std 8 Sedan (lot no. 4, est. $$20/32,000); and a 1916 Briscoe Touring Car (lot no. 5, est. $8/10,000). Auto signs, books and prints round out the sections offerings.

Science & Technology
With more than 600 lots, the Science & Technology portion of the sale includes a very fine selection of mechanical music, rare automata, scientific instruments, early photography, classic 35mm cameras, militaria, and space memorabilia. Exceptional automaton examples include a pair of life-sized Jean Roullet Blackamoore musicians (lot 645, est. $500/600,000) depicting a man with flute and a woman with pan pipes; a rare whistler by Henry Phalibois (lot 644, est. $25/$35,000) portraying a Parisian street urchin; a Roullet et Decamps Cambodian dancer (lot 587, est. $200/300,000), which is an uncatalogued work that was never offered for sale publicly; and a rare Chinese magician by Henry Phalibois (lot 586, est. $30/40,000) whose assistant disappears from one cabinet only to appear in another. Also featured in the sale is an important gold and enamel signed singing bird box by Jaquet-Droz & Leschot (lot 558, est. $150/200,000), c. 1785. Jaquet-Droz singing bird boxes are rarely offered at public sale, the last example appearing almost ten years ago, and only a few remain in private hands.

Previews and Catalogue Information
Previews for the auction will be 12 to 5 p.m. Friday, October 26th, 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday, October 27th, and 8 to 9 a.m. Sunday, October 28th. Illustrated catalog #2383 is available by mail for $32 ($39 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240. It is also available at the gallery for $29. Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. For further information, contact Nick Hawkins for Science and Technology, Mechanical Music and Automata; Dorothy McGonagle for Dolls and Toys; and Jane Prentiss for Antique Motor Vehicles at 978-779-6241, or visit Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogues online.


About Skinner
Skinner, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art and the only major auction house headquartered in New England. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Science & Technology, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, and Discovery. Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Bolton, Mass. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site

Category: Auction News

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